Sunday, October 26, 2014

Macbeth, Pep Rallies, and Other Lessons from High School

3 Lessons learned while subbing for a friend, teaching her AP English IV classes on Friday:

1. Pep rallies at 7:16 AM are still an out of body experience. An entire gymnasium filled with 3,000 students cheering and watching the drill team perform (in full makeup) and vying for the spirit stick and the sun is not even fully up in the sky. Did you see the opening sentence where it was 7:16? (not 7:15 or 7:17.)

2.  Turns out it was Blackout Friday, with hopes that this theme would encourage a high score by our team at the District Championship football game on Friday night. (personal note: I was wearing a black tunic top anyway because no matter how much I try to add color to my wardrobe, black and grey and brown just seems to sneak in there and always have. Actually, I pretty much wear the same thing now as I did in high school: jeans, t-shirt and a navy hoodie and clompy work boots of varying sorts. But that's another story. Friday I was wearing jeans and a black tunic top.) In any case, it was like being at a funeral with cheering and basket tosses and speeches by the girl's volleyball team.

3. Turns out that even if you take a three year hiatus from teaching Macbeth, if you've taught it enough times, it remains in your active memory. Every bit of it. Like rolling off a Shakespearean log. King Duncan is still a nitwit. Lady Macbeth is still scary, although much sadder to me now. I still wonder what the Macbeths would be like to have as neighbors here in the boring Houston 'burbs. Would they dine at Olive Garden? Be excited for the impending Costco? Decorate for Halloween? Would I see them ordering queso at El Bosque?

It was a good day. A very good day. The students were honestly, awesome. Funny and smart and thoughtful.

And I got to pretend I was a responsible grown up who had power to say yay or nay to their requests to go to the bathroom. (a thing I absolutely do not miss. Because if you have an active sense of living ironically, it's hard write bathroom passes for students old enough to vote, and tell them to put away their cell phones while reading an email from my agent on my own phone.)

**If you want to read an irreverent view of suburban Houston and high school life, but with mystery, angels, poison, romance, dysfunctional family life, and potential global destruction if 15 year old Jenna doesn't save the day, I'd highly recommend THE SWEET DEAD LIFE and THE A-WORD, both out now from Soho Press.

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